Declaration on International Solidarity and People’s Co-operation
Taking note of the momentous developments that have unfolded around the world over the past months and years, and that continue to inspire popular uprisings against dictatorship and authoritarian rule across Africa and beyond;
Thereby reminding ourselves, and the world, of the power of the people in democratic struggles to bring about change and an improvement in their lives;
Noting also that recent democratic uprisings have had a profound impact that continues to inspire people around the world from all walks of life, rekindling hope after decades of setbacks, defeats and erosions of our fundamental rights;
Recognising that growing numbers of oppressed, marginalised and vulnerable people around the world, and those who stand in solidarity with them, increasingly recognise their own cause as part of a common, global struggle for a just and liveable future;
Acknowledging with growing alarm that our planet faces a grave and increasing ecological crisis due primarily to the devastating and accumulating impacts of human industrial, commercial and military activities – a crisis that now threatens Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and thus the very prospects for survival of much of humanity;
Taking heed of the unprecedented advances in communications technology, and the enormous potential they offer for building solidarity and practical action;
Understanding that our common struggles and challenges for the realisation of fundamental freedoms, self-determination, social and economic equality, and gender and environmental justice, cannot be solved in isolation or in one country alone;
Reaffirming our conviction that economic development without social justice has proven incapable of responding to the converging challenges and crises of our time, including the economic crisis of 2008 whose ill effects continue to reverberate around the world;
Reaffirming also our belief that democratic states can only secure a just and peaceful future for coming generations when they are guided by universal principles and standards of human rights, and held accountable by their people
Seeking to unleash the contributions to peace, human rights and the environment that we know are possible when like-minded workers, unemployed people, youth, women, intellectuals, and social formations, share the experience and knowledge they have gained through years of activism and dedicated struggle;
Affirming that active, informed, organised people are key to building international solidarity, lending practical support to others engaged in struggle, and debating issues and sharing perspectives that will advance appropriate strategies and solutions;
Recalling in humility and gratitude the past sacrifices we build upon today in our attempts to advance the cause of solidarity, justice and emancipation;
Declaring, finally, our enduring conviction that “Another World Is Possible” – indeed, not only possible but, with increasing urgency, vitally necessary;
NOW THEREFORE WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, do hereby proclaim this DECLARATION OF INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY, which expresses our shared aims and aspirations, common principles, objectives, and ways of working together toward the goal of solidarity with all struggles based on similar principles throughout the world.
1. Aims and Aspirations
1.1. We seek to recall and reclaim the dignified history of struggle against injustice represented by the overcoming of Apartheid. We affirm that this requires people of conscience in South Africa to commit to a broad outlook, strategically coalesce around key human rights and development issues, and together pursue social justice.
1.2. We seek to create opportunities and mechanisms to build on that history, collectively and collaboratively. We recognise that this calls for our commitment to participate – respectfully, candidly, and in good faith – in common fora and joint actions.
1.3. We seek to contribute our energies and efforts to the creation of a just, equitable and sustainable world. We acknowledge that this requires unity and struggle towards global solidarity and cooperation among people.
2.1. We believe in and commit ourselves to the creation of a new, democratic and just world order where equality of nations and people, freedom from poverty and hunger, environmental justice, and solidarity are the principal interests driving international relations.
2.2. We respect and support human rights, including the right to self-determination, and commit ourselves to standing in solidarity against all forms of oppression, occupation and injustice, wherever these occur.
2.3. We call for the prioritisation, in the struggle to resolve global affairs, of the crises faced by people of the global South, who are disproportionately victims of environmental devastation and injustice.
2.4. We support sustainable development that promotes equality, social justice and stewardship of the environment.
2.5. We believe in the power of active, informed, organised people to create change – socially, economically and politically.
2.6. We call for a progressive, democratic and pro-poor foreign policy, informed by a holistic definition of national interest that is not confined to narrow commercial or class interests. Only such a foreign policy allows us to celebrate our inter-connectedness with all of humanity, and to discharge our responsibilities as global citizens in South Africa.
2.7. We fully support and call for the fundamental transformation of the international multilateral system, particularly the financial and economic architecture and its institutions. In particular we seek changes in control and decision-making, governance and accountability that ensure appropriate representation of the diverse and pressing interests of developing countries and their people.
3.1. We will come together as a forum to consider key political, social and economic issues and, wherever practicable, will seek to address these in a collective voice and through concrete proposals to address injustice, oppression and developmental needs of people.
3.2. We will condemn all forms of violence against people engaged in actions to secure their rights and freedoms, whether perpetrated by governments, multi-lateral institutions, or private parties.
3.3. We will express solidarity – including through mass mobilisation and mass action – with those social classes, communities and people who face oppression or injustice, irrespective of national boundaries, including non-nationals within South Africa who continue to endure daily and often grave violations of their human rights.
3.4. We will pay special attention to, and seek proactively to address, political instability and human rights abuses and violations in Africa and beyond.
3.5. We will actively seek, foster and promote cooperation and shared learning among those focused on or practicing alternatives to the hegemonic practices of contemporary
capitalism in its various forms, and especially those pursuing ethical, responsible and sustainable approaches to development.
3.6. We will critically engage with the South African government’s foreign policy, particularly with regard to its role in the monitoring of, and accountability for, human rights violations through all bilateral and multilateral fora and mechanisms, with the goal of seeking to guide and shape policy processes and outcomes, in line with the principles and values articulated in this declaration.
3.7. We will also seek ways to critically engage with the policy commitments and practices of other national governments, inter-governmental organisations, and other institutions wherever appropriate, in pursuit of the better world we seek, and also in line with the principles and values articulated in this declaration.
3.8. We will continue working to build cooperation and to widen our national, regional and global networks.
3.9. While recognising a diversity of views among ourselves, we will seek to reclaim and / or re-establish the legitimacy of international and regional institutions such as the United Nations, the G77, the African Union, and the Southern African Development Community, where this can be pursued consistently with the aims, aspirations, principles and objectives articulated herein.
4. Ways of Operating
4.1. We will work together to take informed, decisive action in support of international solidarity and people’s struggles, consistent with this declaration.
4.2. From time to time, we will organise meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences, together or separately, with the aim of building and sustaining a forum for co-operation, shared learning and joint action.
4.3. Through constructive engagement and debate, we will seek to deepen our understanding of, and commitment to, the values and principles that should guide our dialogue and actions.
4.4. We will remain inclusive, so that any signatory organisation or individual feels free to put forward positions or engage with issues of interest in line with the Forum’s founding principles.
4.5. Acknowledging that despite this statement of solidarity we reflect a diversity of views, we therefore commit ourselves to work together democratically to harmonise our views and actions where possible; we also acknowledge that because of these differences, signatories are not necessarily required to endorse all positions, or participate in all actions that may arise, on the basis of this declaration.
4.6. We will use accessible means of communication as far as possible to enable urban and rural organisations and individuals countrywide to take part.
4.7. We will openly discuss and decide by consensus matters of administration, logistics, finances and fundraising, in a manner that seeks to avoid undue bureaucracy.
4.8. We will proactively seek to raise awareness of this initiative and our activities, and to expand media space for positive coverage of solidarity efforts globally.